Greenland... natural wonders
Have you ever longed to explore dramatic, virtually uninhabited landscapes? A trip in Greenland’s icy wilderness might be just what you have been looking for.
Few places possess such a remarkable landscape as Greenland. Its dramatic icebergs paired with the gentle dance of the northern lights across the sky is alluring enough, without considering its stunning fjords and myriad other scenic charms.
The combination of its large size and the fact that it is sparsely populated only serves to enhance the impact these natural wonders make. They present an unforgettable joy to explore and experience on any holiday here, and today we will take a closer look at some of the finest.
Among the highlights is a visit to the village of Ilulissat. Sitting on the island's west coast, this Unesco World Heritage Site is perched on the mouth of a vast ice fjord that stretches all the way to the renowned Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This natural wonder can be explored by air or by boat, as well as on foot with a rewarding hike.
The sheer size of the icefjord is immensely impressive, covering approximately the same areas as 66,000 football fields. The 55 km long site is full of icebergs that calve from the aforementioned Sermeq Kujalleq, which itself moves an incredible 40 metres each day.
However you explore the icefjord, it is worth remembering that this is a landscape under perpetual change from the shift of time – more so than others. As an icefjord, it suffers at the hand of climate change, and so is of particular interest to travellers interested in conservation.
Greenland National Park
Greenland National Park is not only one of the world's largest, but also most unusual. Difficult to access, it can only be reached via expedition cruise ships. It is also uninhabited, save for researchers and the Danish Armed Forces surveillance unit – an dearth of people that makes for an abundance of wildlife.
It is located in the north-east of the country, and is very much worth embarking on a cruise to visit. Incredible creatures such as polar bears and giant walruses can be glimpsed along the way. Indeed, this is one corner of the world where there are clearly more animals than people.
One of the world's most otherworldly and magical phenomenon is the northern lights or aurora borealis. This spectacular natural light show paints the night sky with hues of green and purple; seeing it in person is something that commonly appears on travellers' bucket lists. Caused by electrically charged particles from the sun hitting our atmosphere, this spectacle of shifting colours is simply a joy to behold – and Greenland is one of the finest places in which to do so. Among the best and most accessible spots to view them is Kangerlussuaq, which has more than 300 clear nights a year.
In Greenland, the lights can be viewed from the end of September to the middle of April. While Kangerlussuaq is the top spot for seeing them, you can actually enjoy the show from almost anywhere in the country – with a little luck.
The Southern Fjords
Greenland's south is equally awash with natural treasures. Along the south coast, for instance, a gorgeous green landscape further brightens the summer months; this feature, combined with its accessibility, have helped earn it the nickname of 'banana coast'.
The Southern Fjords, meanwhile, are utterly spectacular. Vast rock faces make this scenery an enticing mix of dramatic and serene. It is a popular spot among avid climbers, but the selection of ferries and private boats offering trips along the water means you need not attempt to conquer the rocks to enjoy the majesty of the landscape. Two of the key fjords to explore are Tasermiut and Torssuqatoq – both equally remarkable in their own way.
Nanortalik is a natural starting point for exploring the area, and is very much worth exploring in its own right, with its charming old town area having been wonderfully well preserved.
These are just a selection of the country's natural wonders; its remarkable wildlife provides yet another facet to its nature-based attractions, while its norse past offers something to the keen history lover.
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